John R. Hargrave will be inaugurated as East Central University’s eighth president at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 19 [FRIDAY] in the Ataloa Theatre in ECU’s Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center. The public is invited to the ceremony and a reception that follows in the theatre’s Lockmiller Lobby.
Hargrave was named president of ECU on July 1, 2009, by the Board of Regents of the University System of Oklahoma.
Connie Reilly, chair of the RUSO Board of Regents, will deliver the charge of leadership to Hargrave. The symbols of office will be presented by Reilly, Chancellor Glen D. Johnson and Regent Mike Mitchel.
Pre-recorded greetings will be offered by Gov. Brad Henry. Others participating in the ceremony will be Chickasaw Gov. Bill Anoatubby; Rudolph Hargrave, justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court and President Hargrave’s father; Dr. Bruce Weems, ECU’s senior faculty member and dean of the College of Health & Sciences; Valina Sefa, president of the Student Senate; and Monica Cowart, a member of the ECU Alumni Association’s Board of Directors.
The ECU Wind Ensemble will play for the processional, the national anthem and ECU’s alma mater and fight song. Members of ECU’s Army National Guard GOLD Program will present the colors.
The Hargrave family has deep ties to the university and counts 18 members who attended or graduated from ECU, beginning with Hargrave’s grandparents. His parents met at ECU and Hargrave met his wife, Kay, at ECU. His two sisters also met their spouses on the campus. His mother and aunt earned master’s degrees from ECU, and his youngest son is an ECU student.
Hargrave graduated from ECU with honors in 1977, majoring in speech and sociology. He earned a law degree at the University of Oklahoma in 1980 and began practicing law.
The Hargraves decided to raise their four children in Wewoka, his hometown, while he commuted to Oklahoma City. Before coming to ECU he had been a managing partner of the Edmonds Cole Law Firm in Oklahoma City which he helped establish in 1985. Kay Hargrave, a 1978 ECU graduate, is an assistant district attorney for Seminole, Hughes and Pontotoc Counties.
Hargrave was mayor of Wewoka from 2002-2007 and oversaw the planned construction of a new water/sewer plant and improvements to water purification plants. He became a member of the Board of Directors of Wewoka Industries in 1994 and helped negotiate the establishment of a juvenile treatment facility in Wewoka.
He founded the Downtown Investment Group and the Wewoka Community Foundation and served as the liaison for those groups and the city of Wewoka and Wewoka Industries with the Wewoka Chamber of Commerce.
The ECU president wants to expand activities that will bring potential students to campus to become part of the ECU family as well as encourage alumni to return and share their favorite moments as students.
One of his first duties was opening the new Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center in September 2009. He and other university officials are working to make a new School of Business and Conference Center a reality next door to the fine arts center.
He also has hosted several events honoring veterans – students, faculty, staff and community members – for their service.
Hargrave is chair of the Steering Committee of the Arts District of Ada and is an ex-officio board member of the Ada Jobs Foundation and the ECU Foundation Inc. He participated in the formation of the new NCAA Division II Conference that ECU will enter next year, serving on the Commissioner Search and Membership Committees. He is active in the ECU Alumni Association and helped establish the Ardmore Alumni Advisory Board.
He also is an advisory board member for the Miss Ada Pageant and the Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum in Seminole and serves on various committees of the Ada Area Chamber of Commerce. He is a trustee of the Seminole State College Foundation.
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